Finish. The Texas Longhorns managed that feat with Euless Trinity defensive tackle Chris Daniels, who announced to the Longhorns on National Signing Day. The Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies did not, despite the advantage of recruiting Daniels for a much longer period of time.
And it's Texas for Euless Trinity DL Chris Daniels pic.twitter.com/PBU9jaT6ZE— Travis L. Brown (@Travis_L_Brown) February 3, 2016
Daniels on UT's Charlie Strong: "All I've got to say is that if you don't want to go to Texas, don't let him get on your couch."— Corbett Smith (@corbettsmithDMN) February 3, 2016
Not only that, but the consensus four-star prospect was able to criss-cross the country in 2015, visiting schools like Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, giving him an in-depth look at what numerous schools in different geographical areas had to offer.
In the end, three schools stood out at various points -- the Aggies were the leader after a strong start by the Horned Frogs, basically the local school for Daniels' area, but the Sooners used an official visit in November to take the lead and land the commitment from the 6'4, 300-pounder on December 18.
But that ended up being an auspicious date in his recruitment, as Texas had finally made the move to offer Daniels the day before, despite oddly sitting on the sideline for the entirety of his recruitment to that point, even though he was a top-30 player in the state ever since his junior season.
For some prospects, the late arrival would have meant that the Horns were lifeless upon that arrival. Instead, his pride didn't impact his thinking and he visited for a crucial official visit on January 15, during which he was hosted by his former high school teammate, Patrick Vahe, the at times outgoing and at times nasty breakout offensive guard for the Horns. Clearly, Vahe was his outgoing self on that particular occasion.
And it worked, as Daniels quickly trended Texas in the immediate aftermath, decommitting from Oklahoma only days after visiting Austin. Since the Sooners had already hosted Daniels on his official visit, he wasn't able to return to Norman and subsequent trips to Texas A&M and Tennessee did nothing to change his final decision.
Here's the evaluation from ESPN ($) on Daniels:
This is a physically impressive prospect. Possesses a wonderful combination of height and bulk. Thickly built and powerful and carries his weight very well. Flashes above average first-step quickness.
Versus the Run
Big, strong kid that can be a stout, if not violent run stuffer. Flashes ability to fire out low and explode into blockers and when he does can stand them up and knock them back. When he stays low he is extremely difficult to move off the ball with one blocker and has the size and strength to stuff double teams. He does need to watch pad level though as he can play high and is not as stout when he does. Brings a violent forearm that can jolt blockers, but needs to improve hand usage and can initial shock blockers, but end up getting caught up and struggle to get off blocks quickly. Flashes the lateral mobility to be active between the tackles.
Pass Rush Skills
Defender with the size and strength to drive blockers back and collapse the pocket, but doesn't fully utilize that ability as can struggle to maintain push and finish due to pad level. Needs to further develop use of his weapons and looks to lack a plan and can attack the whole man and get stuck to blockers.
He doesn't always make things easy on himself, but this a physical if not at times violent player. He moves well for size with very good range for a big man to be factor in pursuit.
Daniels is a big, strong and physical player that is capable of being a handful in the trenches. Needs to continue to develop and better maximize his physical ability though, but if he can better blend technique with his natural tools this big man can be an excellent Power-5 DT.
STRENGTHS: Daniels is a versatile defender who can play in the middle or on the edge as a pass rusher. Works to the perimeter quickly and has a speed burst that allows him to get to the ball carrier. Tough, strong wrap-up tackler. Very good ability to shed blocks, especially when getting to the QB. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Has a tendency to play high, which hurts his ability to leverage blockers. Needs to become quicker in his reads. ... BOTTOM LINE: Daniels is a raw but talented player. If he can start making quicker reads, he should see his productivity rise.
While Daniels doesn't project as an instant-impact contributor for the Longhorns at a position where it is extremely difficult to do so, his ability to work some on the edge could make him extremely valuable in odd fronts capable of showcasing his athleticism in 2017. The area for growth will have to come when he's playing three technique, as Texas will have to ask Daniels to play half a man and exploit gaps more often for him to fulfill the ultimate upside teased at by his athleticism. Not to mention those usual pad level, hand technique caveats that apply to nearly every high school defensive tackle.
Daniels is ranked as the No. 185 player nationally, No. 21 defensive tackle in the country, and the No. 28 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. A total of 30 schools offered him throughout the process. The Euless Trinity star is the 19th pledge in the class and joined Duncanvile defensive tackle Marcel Southall in choosing the Horns on Wednesday morning, pushing Texas to No. 18 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings and No. 2 in the Big 12.